“A horrific photo of a drowned Syrian child”: Humanitarian photography and NGO media strategies in historical perspective

This article is a historical examination of the use of photography in the informational and fundraising strategies of humanitarian organizations. Drawing on archival research and recent scholarship, it shows that the figure of the dead or suffering child has been a centrepiece of humanitarian campaigns for over a century and suggests that in earlier eras too, such photos, under certain conditions, could "go viral" and achieve iconic status.

About the authors

Heide Fehrenbach
Northern Illinois University

Professor at Northern Illinois University.

Davide Rodogno
Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies

Professor at the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies.